View Full Version : My 1972 OIF Bonneville Build

01-10-2010, 7:51 PM
I finally took the plunge and bought my first "project". It's a 1972 Triumph Bonneville that's in pretty decent shape. I will be selling my EVO hardtail to hopefully finance my dream Bonnie. This website has given me the confidence to pull the trigger and I'm stoked! It will take some time, but I plan to document the build and I definitely will be asking a TON of questions!

01-10-2010, 10:50 PM
questions are good ok but where's the pics? let's see the old and the new.

01-11-2010, 6:28 AM
AWESOME! I can't agree more. Start sharing the pics! So, first off, will you be running the bike OIF or an external oil bag?

01-11-2010, 8:49 AM
I will get pics up soon. I'm still on the fence about OIF vs. external oil tank. I've seen some pretty cool bikes that use the David Bird weld on hardtail with the OIF front. I kinda like the idea that not too many people go the OIF route.

01-11-2010, 9:13 AM

01-11-2010, 8:59 PM

here's one i just sold

01-11-2010, 9:50 PM
Here's a little inspiration from an OIF fanatic.

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01-12-2010, 7:05 AM
Go with the OIF, why not! They work and look cool too! Good luck, post some pics soon, I'm jonesin'!!

Tikipunx--great video, that bikes got a great sound! Never seen anybody do a burnout without being jammed up against a wall or something! Cool!!

01-12-2010, 1:02 PM
just a little update...I bought the 72 Bonnie on eBay and called the seller. Turns out he was selling the bike for a friend who didn't use the computer. I started to get nervous with the guys story so I did a quick google of the owner of the bike. Turns out he is a 76 year old British Bike collector that has 60 plus bikes and a state of the art garage!!!! I got him on the phone and he kicked the bike over for me to hear. So far so good....pics to come after this weekend when I pick it up!

01-12-2010, 7:43 PM
bring us the pics!!!!! cant wait to see

01-12-2010, 10:10 PM
killer story about the phone call.
i'm in with everybody else...can't wait to see photos!

01-16-2010, 3:27 PM
Alright gents...picked up the Bonneville this morning. Left at 3:00 am and after a 9 hour drive (round trip) I've got the bike home. Just took it out for a shakedown run and this thing runs like a top! Swingarm is extended 1 1/2" and the forks seem to be +2 (Forking by Frank stamped on the tubes!) King/Queen seat is in near perfect condition. I was thinking of making a bobber, but that seat is making me question my whole build!

The guy I bought it from was cool as hell. He had almost 70 British bikes (plus a few Indians) in his stable. He bought out 14 Triumph dealerships in the 70's and has enough parts to build a shitload of bikes from NOS parts!

He had a cherry Triumph X75 Hurricane that I wanted to ride so badly, but couldn't muster up the courage to ask!

So now what do I do?????

01-16-2010, 5:08 PM
Well, it's a nice start, I guess the next step is you'll have to decide what you want to do,...

01-16-2010, 5:44 PM
so I've been down in the garage staring at the King/Queen seat. the thing is so nice...I want to incorporate it into the build. I plan on ordering up a David Bird hardtail from Lowbrow and going from there.

01-17-2010, 5:31 AM
so I've been down in the garage staring at the King/Queen seat.

Sometimes,... It takes just one part or piece to put everything into perspective ...

01-17-2010, 9:51 AM
She's a beauty! Let the fun begin.

01-17-2010, 5:59 PM

Got one of these on the way...along with the Four Aces DVD's (rebuild and maintenance). I'm spending MLK Day in the garage!

01-17-2010, 7:16 PM
Very cool can't wait to follow your progress.

01-17-2010, 7:43 PM

Got one of these on the way...along with the Four Aces DVD's (rebuild and maintenance). I'm spending MLK Day in the garage!

hahaha same here. but im helping my friend on HIS BIKE. hahah

01-18-2010, 7:08 PM
I didn't get as much time in the garage today as I thought...started the tear down. I also found a shop about an hour away that will weld the hardtail on for me. I hope to be able to pull the motor one night this week.

01-24-2010, 3:40 PM
Things are starting to line up for the build. Found a cool cat in Montgomery to weld on my hardtail (should be here in 2 weeks). I've got the tank boxed and ready to be shipped to Shawn at Imperial House. He's going to paint/silver leaf to match the Biltwell lid he did for me last month. Once the hardtail shows up, real progress can begin and I'll get pics up for sure!

02-14-2010, 4:41 PM
got my Biltwell exhaust tips striped by "Von Hot Rod"

Hardtail has shipped, fender should ship tomorrow...progress next weekend!!!

02-16-2010, 4:09 AM
Shawn over at Imperial House sent me some pics of the tank progress...this thing is going to rule!!!

02-20-2010, 8:00 PM
got her into a roller today....going to clean up the motor this week. Randy should have the hardtail done by mid-week. Ditching the King/Queen seat and going to run a Biltwell solo tuck n roll. It just wasn't going to get the look I wanted. Gotta love progress!!!

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02-21-2010, 8:26 PM
more progress this weekend...

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Shawn over at Imperial House is knocking this tank out of the park!!!

02-21-2010, 10:30 PM
more progress this weekend...

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Shawn over at Imperial House is knocking this tank out of the park!!!

That looks really really nice man keep going it looks like it is coming together...

02-22-2010, 7:56 AM
thanks KT! I'm hoping to be riding by the end of April and planning on riding to the Smoke Out East

02-23-2010, 4:27 PM
tanks on it's way back to me...

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02-23-2010, 4:32 PM
Damn! Shawn pulls some sweet lines for sure!

02-23-2010, 4:44 PM
Logi--Shawn's work is amazing! I've been working each night on cleaning up the motor. Hoping to have the frame ready for the powdercoater by the end of the weekend.

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02-26-2010, 7:46 AM
cleared the schedule for tomorrow and should get a ton of things done on the build...pics to come for sure!

02-27-2010, 7:40 PM
finally got the ass end off the frame...hope to be at the powdercoater by Friday...

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02-27-2010, 8:30 PM
Hey, what finish are you going to use with the powdercoat... Satin... gloss... ?

02-27-2010, 8:40 PM
I was thinking gloss since my tank is satin black to have some contrast. I'm also powdercoating rims/hubs gloss black.

02-28-2010, 9:42 AM
Gloss black really does look good on a frame, but you're right, it is the COMBO--the "look"--you achieve in the end that brings a bike together.

03-03-2010, 3:15 PM
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getting there!!!

03-03-2010, 4:07 PM
She's comin' along great!

03-03-2010, 4:08 PM
thats a sexy rear end.

03-03-2010, 8:09 PM
been polishing my fingers to the bone today!!!! I'm starting to imagine blasting down the road on this thing!!!

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03-03-2010, 8:18 PM
Nice! Hopin to get my bike wired tomorrow, and fired up. Keep the pics comin, I wanna see that tank Shawn did for ya on it! That thing's gonna be sick.

03-03-2010, 9:27 PM
Looking great man ...What is it with people polishing their Triumph aluminum here lately Chen was doing the other day I am doing it you have been ...LOL ...You know when spring is near the buzzards come back and people start shining ...Keep it up!

03-04-2010, 4:47 AM
I know man, Chen was my inspiration! He told me his method and it worked great for me...Spring can't get here fast enough!

03-04-2010, 7:34 AM
lookin good ridemore! especially those fork legs....wow

03-04-2010, 2:06 PM
thanks Chen...I'm actually selling the 3" over front end that is on it now as I picked up a standard length...should bring the ride height where I want it! Guys let me know if you want any of the take off parts (speedo/tach, front end, swingarm, etc)

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03-04-2010, 2:42 PM
I want the swingarm.

03-12-2010, 7:44 AM
got a hall pass from the wife and will be spending the day working on the bike. should have the frame ready for powdercoaters (that's the goal anyway). still trying to sell the take-off parts....swing arm (+1 1/2") and complete 3 over front end.

03-12-2010, 3:26 PM
Little thing but look for one of these finned rocker inspection caps I think they will thread right in the oil fill hole in your frame right behind the tank ....Atleast I have seen people use them in the OIF instead of the dipstick plug from Triumph looks cool imo once polished up just a little detail ....

03-12-2010, 3:30 PM
thanks KT...I ordered some from Lowbrow for the motor but haven't put them on yet. I will see if I can find 1 for the oil fill. great idea...keep 'em coming! I take coaching very well!

03-12-2010, 4:00 PM
drop me your address and I can mail ya one I have a small box of used ones off parts bikes ...think you can only buy them in sets of 4 .....Have to clean it up good but I will pick ya out one that is decent...I have some aluminum ones and some shorter ones that are chromed

03-13-2010, 9:06 PM
almost finished with all the fab work on the frame. hope to have it at the powdercoater early next week. had an issue with the cross bar where i wanted to mount my seat bungs. the biltwell seat i ordered was too long for that area. we decided to box it in with some 1/4 plate and we will mount the bungs/springs to it.

also got the standard length front end on....definitely got the ride height where I wanted it! no more nosebleeding!!!!

worked on rear motormounts, and decided to re-purpose the original battery box/coil holder. the guys at the shop were trying to talk me into running a fake oil bag to hide all of the electrics. I'm proud to be running the OIF (and I don't want to spend another $200) so I'm going to run em' open, out and proud!!! I love when people ask me where the oil tank is!

03-13-2010, 9:57 PM
yep that front end looks much better coming along I found you a cap btw be on it's way monday ...Keep it up looking good

03-15-2010, 10:37 AM
Thanks KT! Here are a few more pictures from Saturday...

Randy and Ron working on the seat mount solution


I installed the new Rocker Inspection caps I got from Lowbrow....they look sweet!!!


03-15-2010, 12:24 PM
Nice progress, RM.

The new front end sits much better than the +3.
Clean inspection covers, too.

03-15-2010, 12:30 PM
lookin good, i think you could still take a couple inches out of that stock fork and really get a mean stance.

03-15-2010, 3:11 PM
I agree on taking out another 2 inches or so. that is on my list of things for next winter. I'm going to rebuild the engine, install that clutch kit from Trumpnut, and slam the front end. First things first though, I'm going to ride the hell out of it this spring/summer/fall!!!

thanks for the comments guys...I'm stoked on how it's coming out!

03-15-2010, 3:24 PM
Lookin killer still. But holy shit man, take that tank off when your grindin and weldin, wouldn't wanna ruin Shawn's beautiful work! Made my butthole pucker-up just seein that!

03-17-2010, 11:37 AM
I know I know...just had the tank on there while tacking. took it off for full welding for sure. here is the key switch that Randy put into the rear motormount...


03-17-2010, 12:55 PM
i have to think it will, but make sure your kicker clears with the key in.

03-17-2010, 2:59 PM
yeah, the kicker clears with no issues. plenty of room. here is a pic of the seat mount. we had to add the 1/4" plate...seat bungs would not fit on the crossbar from the hardtail.


03-17-2010, 4:41 PM
...seat bungs would not fit on the crossbar from the hardtail.

Is there enough room left for a fender?

03-17-2010, 4:44 PM
yeah there is...have to notch the plate a little to allow room for the rib in the fender. I should have pics of it soon...

03-20-2010, 6:52 PM
decided to go a different direction on the seat mounts. I wasn't digging the idea of my fat ass bouncing on the plate. got the fender mounted, figured out a mount for the headlight as well (didn't get a pic of that). frame should be at the powdercoater by mid week.

Got a cool new oil cap thanks to KT!!!!


03-20-2010, 10:47 PM
Like it.
You're going to remove the forward cross section, yeah?

03-21-2010, 6:12 AM
no, I'm going to leave the original cross bars. I'm going to ride the hell out of this thing so I figure I could use the strength.

03-21-2010, 8:25 AM
looking good man that cap gives it alittle something instead of that flat ugly one =)

03-24-2010, 3:39 PM
I decided to clean up my wheels and run them as-is until next winter. took me almost 4 hours to get the rust off the rear wheel..

http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l32/ridemore16/DSC_0181.jpg (http://s92.photobucket.com/albums/l32/ridemore16/?action=view&current=DSC_0181.jpg)

http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l32/ridemore16/DSC_0188.jpg (http://s92.photobucket.com/albums/l32/ridemore16/?action=view&current=DSC_0188.jpg)

going to let the cramps in my hands calm down and then tackle the front wheel and the front/rear drums

Randy was finishing the welding on the frame today. Hope to have it at the powdercoater in the next few days
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l32/ridemore16/DSC_0185.jpg (http://s92.photobucket.com/albums/l32/ridemore16/?action=view&current=DSC_0185.jpg)

04-08-2010, 7:01 AM
finally made some real progress...


going to tackle the wiring (first time attempting) so get ready for some questions!!!


04-08-2010, 10:09 AM
Great looking bike!

I have a '71 Tiger basket case and this is definitely an inspirational thread!

I see you're in B'ham - I'm in Jackson, MS. We'll be riding to the SOE as well. Can't wait to see the finished bike.
Might hit you up for some info on the shop/guys you're using. I really like that back end. Reminds me of the old Hutch bicycles back in the day.

04-09-2010, 3:25 PM
thanks man...I'm hoping to be able to ride to the SOE. We'll see how it goes between now and then.

So I finished up my first attempt at wiring...Bingo, we've got a runner!!!! Took it out for a shakedown...gotta tune the carbs a little for the velocity stack/open pipe setup. Other than that, version 1.0 is complete! I'm already thinking of version 2.0, (isn't that the way it goes)




04-09-2010, 3:54 PM
Lookin good. And ride-able again too! Who-hoo!!!! Those are some nice bars you got there, kinda look like these ones that accidentally showed up on my door step. Ha ha. That new oil cap looks an awful lot like a primary filler plug for a old Ironhead. Am I close???

04-09-2010, 3:58 PM
thanks man...yeah, those bars sure made a journey to finally end up on this bike! the oil cap is actually a rocker inspection cap that KT hooked me up with. definitely looks better than the old-flat-beat-to-hell one that was on it!

04-09-2010, 4:44 PM
Way to go congrats now ride the piss out of it =) Good Work!

04-11-2010, 6:01 AM
so I went to ride it yesterday morning and kick, kick, kick.....kick, cuss, kick, cuss. Nothing. Grabbed the handy dandy Haynes manual and started checking things out. I spend all day fiddling with the carbs. Tuning, balancing, the whole she-bang. I throw in the Four Aces tuning video and watch the relevant chapters. I happen to glance at the DVD jacket and thank God Wes listed the type of spark plugs and gaps. He's got different plugs listed than the "book". Run to Advance Auto, get the plugs that Wes recommends and what do you know....fires right up and is running like a champ!!! I wanted to find Mr Haynes and punch him in the throat!!!!

End of Rant

04-11-2010, 1:35 PM
I always run the NGKS , I tried some champions once didn't care for them ....Champions are good for lawn mowers LOL ...But you are correct plugs can make a difference if not hot enough or to cold ...You can index your plugs too .. Indexing isn't a huge deal but every little thing helps I like to think.....Glad she is running for you enjoy it ...

04-13-2010, 6:22 PM
what kinda plugs does WW (wes white) recommend? that guys overflowing with useful info.

04-13-2010, 6:47 PM
what kinda plugs does WW (wes white) recommend? that guys overflowing with useful info.

Wes recommended NGK B7ES and the Haynes manual said NGK B8ES...made all the difference in the world!

04-18-2010, 4:42 PM
NGK's and AC are good, i have had consistant good luck with denso plugs, i have a hard time finding them though, i bought a couple sets from a guy on the road,

04-19-2010, 5:22 AM
glad to here you got it fired up.I hope im doing the ame things as you in the next few weeks.I got to the 101dvd , it has helped out a lot as has the 650 re build dvd.102 should be pre selling pretty soon according to lowbrow.

Ride safe

04-19-2010, 9:46 AM
awesome progress man!

the bike is looking killer.
the rear fender is all sneaky like being painted all black,
couldn't even tell it was there in some of the photos.

really great work.

04-19-2010, 5:38 PM
thanks man! I'm planning on sending the fender to Shawn @ Imperial House for his killer silver leaf/pinstripe treatment once I scratch up the funds. Bike is fun as hell to ride. No more High Horsepower/Wide tire bikes for me!!! So much more fun to ride this one!

05-05-2010, 5:52 AM
These pictures are great. Thank you for responding to my post so quickly. I was actually looking at your bike yesterday before I posted my questions. I really like that you used the original battery holder. I think that I am going to take your advice re: the 4 inch stretch and 2.5 inch drop. Your bike appears to sit perfectly. One more question- Do you need to fabricate a piece to sit against the mounting bracket? I haven't seen this on other builds. Maybe I just haven't look close enough. Is this for additional strength or is it necessary?

Thank again.

05-05-2010, 6:34 PM
by mounting bracket do are you referring to rear motor mount? there are a variety of ways to get it done, but I did have to make a plate to make it work. let me know if you need any pics of anything and I can shoot them over to you.

I made a few changes today...hated the headlight mount I came up with originally, so I made another. This one is much cleanerhttp://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l32/ridemore16/DSC_0259.jpg

and I switched seats...from the Biltwell to this seat made by Rich Phillips


and I repurposed this Cadillac seatbelt to use as a battery strap


05-06-2010, 4:12 AM
What kind of risers did you use? I love the seat belt to secure the battery. I will definitely need you to send me some pictures when I get a little further along. I ordered the Bird weld on with the stretch and drop that you suggested. Thanks!

05-07-2010, 5:22 AM
the risers are from After Hours Choppers, I'd like to get the tops engraved...one of the ideas I've been kicking around. No problem on the pics...let me know what you need when the time comes.

05-09-2010, 3:37 AM
Looking good man - also cant wait to see the end result

05-09-2010, 1:43 PM
these things are never "done" right?

here's a few pics I snapped today...



05-09-2010, 2:00 PM
oh cool - didnt realize it was that far along LOL

05-09-2010, 4:29 PM
Turned out sweet.

05-11-2010, 7:37 AM
Nice work! I love the grips. I have a quick question for you. Rather than fabricate the rear motor mounts, could you have used the pivot bolt for the swing arm, with spacers to accomodate the space left from the swing arm, to hold the motor mount in place without the fabricated piece? Thanks!!

05-11-2010, 10:05 AM
Sure you can. By doing this it allowed me to use all of my stock mounts, pegs, brake lines, etc.

05-11-2010, 10:06 AM
This my final product. (See fab work on previous page)

05-11-2010, 11:12 AM
I appreciate the pictures. That seems like a good solution. In many of the pics that I see with a weld on hardtail it appears as though the rear motor mount is held in place with only the swing arm bolt. Is this possible? I like the burn-out vid by the way.

05-12-2010, 10:12 AM
When I originally built my '67 TR6R chopper back in 1971 during my
Santa Cruz daze, went with bolt-on hardtail, tall sissybar and seat
from AEE Choppers. 10" over forks, 21" and 18" alloy rims, TT pipes,
pullback handlebars, early Triumph oil tank, 32mm Amal Concentric
Bowl carb, coffin tank and CDI (blue cylinder suspended with spring
(no battery. Was still a WIP when photo was taken.

I subsequently discovered that the 21" hoop was great on the freeway,
but sucked in low-speed handling and out on the winding backroads.

In addition, the 18" rear combined with the hardtail took its toll on my
back and arse. In fact, rode from Santa Cruz to San Jose then, on the
return trip, my arse went numb.

Switched to chrome 16" rear rim although it was mounted off-center
to the right in order to clear the chain. Switched to chrome octangle
oil bag and Sportster gas tank (identical shape to frame) , replaced
tall sissybar with fender brace, and relocated coils behind the tranny.

Was planning to change over to shorter forks and toss the pullbacks
when the '73 T140RV debuted. Had to have that new Bonny so, after
trying to sell it (too many flakes), ended-up trading it (got $1,100) in
for the '73 Bonny at the dealer in Salinas, CA.


05-22-2010, 8:33 AM
little update: ended up going with a Boyer Electronic ignition and MAN, what a difference it makes. this motor has pretty low compression (planning on an engine rebuild in the fall) but it rides a lot better now with the new ignition. also ditched the Baxter BMX kicker and went with a simple brass kicker from Factory Metal Works. I think it looks a lot better...



also have my rear fender with Shawn over at Imperial House...can't wait to see what radness he comes up with!!!

06-01-2010, 6:12 PM
a little factoid from my build. I got news today that the guy who welded on my hardtail (Nuklhed on ChopCult) murdered his ex-wife this morning. Apparently he shot her in the head in front of his shop in Montgomery. Dude seemed a little off, but I'm in shock over the news. I've never met anyone who has killed someone before.

06-01-2010, 6:22 PM
on a lighter note, I am trying to clean up my wiring mess and here is the progress


06-16-2010, 6:15 AM
Shawn at Imperial House hooked up my rear fender! Can't wait to get it back on the bike and head to the Smokeout East next week!!!!


06-16-2010, 12:51 PM
Thats pretty crazy looks good and bright

06-16-2010, 5:54 PM
that came out really nice, ties in nice to tank He does great work, I think he is going to be set up with Lowbrow at SOX .I will look for your scoot , going down with a bunch of guys

06-19-2010, 2:10 PM
got the fender back on the bike. Shawn really does awesome work!!! Now I'm ready for the Smokout next weekend!!!




09-06-2010, 12:01 PM
I got some new window bars from Front Street Cycle....haven't had a chance to ride with them yet because of ignition issues (going back to points). I dig the way they look though.


My buddy Spenser fabbed up these coil mounts and battery box/strap.


09-06-2010, 12:05 PM
looks groovy man nice coil mounts your buddy did a good job ...